PHOENIX — No surprise that North Carolina coach Roy Williams was asked about the academic investigation into his program here Sunday before the Tar Heels play Gonzaga Monday night in the national championship game.
It’s also probably no surprise what Williams had to say.
Q. Typically in major infractions cases that last this long, by the time they get done some of the only people left to bear the brunt of the penalties have nothing to do with them. How concerned are you that innocent players, coaches may have to some day suffer some of this stuff?
COACH WILLIAMS: Not a lot. And the reason I say that is because my firm belief that we did nothing wrong. Okay. And that’s just the best way to put it. Were there some mistakes made? You’re darned right there were. Were there some things I wish hadn’t happened? You’re darned right. But there were no allegations against men’s basketball.
So I’ve sort of hung my hat on that part, and I know we did nothing wrong. And I find it hard to believe that it could go that far. Do I believe again that our institution, there were some mistakes, you’re darned right I do. I’m very mad, sad, ticked off, any way you want to put all that terminology about it, embarrassed and all those things, too.
But we’ve received a tremendous amount of hurt already over the last three years. And I don’t see Jeff in here, but last night he asked me if I thought it was any benefit from having to go through this junk. And I just had a difficult time understanding that, because for three years it’s been very difficult to recruit and do a lot of other things.
Q. Can you describe what it has been like? I’m assuming that people use that against you in recruiting. And how do you deal with that. And more specifically what do you tell the players who are coming in basically on faith?
COACH WILLIAMS: That’s exactly — the thing I was most proud of is that Joel, Justin and Theo all committed to us during their junior year. Right then is when things started coming out. They stuck with us. They trusted me. That was one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever had.
And maybe I’m not as good or we’re not as good, but in the first 10 years we recruited 26 McDonald’s All-Americans in our first 10 years. And the last three I think we got one. I don’t think I got that dumb that quickly. So it was the doubt that people could put in — some of them directly, some of them indirectly. But still bringing up the doubt was something that was hard to deal with.
And I had one dad say, we’re just going to wait until the spring and it will be over with by then, and then we’ll know exactly what it was. That was two years ago. We still don’t know what it is.